Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back to Baking!

Happy Autumn!! Obviously we are celebrating by not posting anything. We are awesome this way. :)

Autumn is my favorite time of year, something Allison & I have in common, so I thought I would actually try to post something related to it. I love baking, especially for other people, but tend not to do much of it in the heat of summer. This August the heating element in the oven went out & even though I didn't plan to bake much I felt slightly panicked at the thought that I couldn't if I wanted to. ;) Fortunately my dad put a new heating element in & the weather has turned cooler so it's time to make delicious autumn-inspired foods!

To christen the new heating element I decided to make some Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread. It sounds like a weird combination but they work well together.

The recipe I use is from an old Taste of Home magazine but I've made a few additions of my own over time. I like it spicy. :)

Here's the recipe with my additions in bold:

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread (adapted from Taste of Home):
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon plus a little more
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves  
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • Chocolate chips!
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in a large bowl. Put the peanut butter (I prefer extra chunky!) in a slightly smaller bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute so it is easier to combine with the other ingredients. Once it is easily stirred add in the pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Stir the pumpkin-peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients just until everything is combined. I like to add chocolate chips at this step. As many as you'd like! Don't overstir.

The Taste of Home recipe calls for two 9x5-in. loaf pans. I've also used smaller pans and made mini-loaves. Just make sure you grease them. I use an ice cream scoop to evenly distribute the batter. When the pans are full I like to sprinkle a line of cinnamon down the length of the batter before swirling it with a knife or fork. It makes it look pretty! You can also sprinkle some sugar on top to give it an extra something. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. My oven tends to be hot (and the new element is very hot) so I check around 45 minutes, especially if making small loaves. Use the toothpick method to see if it's ready. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before carefully removing from pan. Let cool before wrapping carefully. 

This freezes well & makes a great gift! You can add cinnamon chips, white chocolate chips, cranberries, nuts, etc. Happy eating!

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